Zorina Khan

Professor of Economics

Teaching this semester

ECON 1101. Principles of Microeconomics, A

An introduction to economic analysis and institutions, with special emphasis on the allocation of resources through markets. The theory of demand, supply, cost, and market structure is developed and then applied to problems in antitrust policy, environmental quality, energy, education, health, the role of the corporation in society, income distribution, and poverty. Students desiring a comprehensive introduction to economic reasoning should take both Economics 1101 and 1102 . For proper placement students should fill out the economics placement request form and must be recommended for placement in Economics 1101. Not open to students who have taken Economics 1050.

ECON 2380. Economic History of American Enterprise

Considers the history of American enterprise over the past two centuries. First examines key issues in the economics of the firm, entrepreneurship, and innovation during the nineteenth century (the period of the second industrial revolution). Then addresses these issues from a more recent perspective (the so-called third industrial revolution). Assesses what lessons for the twenty-first century can be learned from an examination of the development of enterprise since the nineteenth century; and analyzes the extent to which today’s “New Economy” raises novel questions for economic theory and its applications.

Prof. Khan's research examines issues in law and economic history, including intellectual property rights, technological progress in Europe and the United States, antitrust, litigation and legal systems, and corporate governance. Several papers empirically assess the role of family networks in the mobilization of financial capital during early industrialization. Her work has been recognized by grants of the National Science Foundation; the Leonardo da Vinci Fellowship; and the Griliches Fellowship, which the NBER awards once every two years to an empirical economist. Her book, The Democratization of Invention: Patents and Copyrights in American Economic Development, 1790-1920 (Cambridge University Press and NBER), received the Alice Hanson Jones Biennial Prize for outstanding work in North American economic history.

Prof. Khan is fond of jazz and rock music, Boston (the city), Expressionist art, black and white movies, biographies, and nineteenth-century novels. If she weren’t an economist, the difficult choice between restaurant reviewer and chef would be resolved by her taste for consumption rather than production.

PDF Curriculum Vitae


Prof. Khan holds a First Class Honours B.Sc. degree in Economics, Sociology, and Statistics from the University of Surrey in England; an M.A. in Economics from McMaster University in Canada; and a Ph.D. in Economics from UCLA. 

She is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); and was a Hoover National Fellow at Stanford University (2014-15). She has been a Fulbright Scholar, Senior Fellow at the Lemelson Center, and Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Australian National University; as well as a visiting professor at the NYU Law School, UC Berkeley School of Law, UCLA School of Law, Harvard University, the NBER, and the London School of Economics (2015-2016).


Professor Khan specializes in the economics of innovation and enterprise.  Her first book, The Democratization of Invention: Patents and Copyrights in American Economic Development, was awarded the Alice Hanson Jones prize for the best work in American economic history published in two years.   A forthcoming book analyzes the evolution and effects of such incentives for technological innovation as patents and prizes, in the U.S. and major European countries from 1750 through 1930.  The findings have informed policy in Congress, the World Bank, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the British Commission on Intellectual Property Rights.